tv Presidential Debate LINKTV October 3, 2012 6:00pm-8:30pm PDT
i smash the boulder down into what? rocks. then i take those rocks, boom, boom, i smash them down into... - stones. - stones. now, i take that sledgehammer, bam, bam. i smash those stones down into... gravel. come on, let's be a little imaginative here. and i take that gravel, unh, smash, smash, i break that gravel down into. - sand. - pebbles. sand. fine gravel. i take that fine gravel, i smash that down into, begin with an s, ends with and, try it. sand. now, i'd be taking that sand, honey. i take that sledgehammer and i smash that sand down into... - dust. - dust, powder. and i take that sledgehammer and whomp. i smash that dust down to... pebbles. powder, fine dust. fine dust, all right, all right. all right, let's take that fine dust
and i smash that down into, begin with c, r, y, s, t, a... crystals. and i take those crystals and i smash those down into... molecules, or begin with "a" and guess what we're gonna be talking about today? atoms, all right. now, i take those atoms and i smash those down. can i break the atom down to perhaps finer still. the answer, begin with a "y", end with a "p". - what is the answer? - yup. yup can do, okay. but i'll tell you what, when you get down to the atom, you're down to the elemental building block omatter. turns out the atom can be divided too. but if you take matter, like a hunk of gold, and break it down... you're finally down to one gold atom. take a bar of aluminum. break it down, you'll come to one atom that is aluminum, okay. it turns out atoms are the constituents of all matter. take these atoms, gang them together and they form, begin with an m. molecules, okay, but atoms are what we're gonna talk about today.
atoms are big or atoms are small? - very small. - small or small-small? - small-small. - small-small-small small. we'll talk about how big, how small atoms are. anyway, we have all the atoms arranged in our textbook. open to the front cover and you will see the periodic table, periodic chart of the elements. and this is the periodic chart, gang. you guys have gotta memorize that by next time. will you learn any physics at all if you do memorize that? no. you'll learn no physics, none. all you'll know is a lot of names and a lot of chart, okay? but what is this chart? this chart is an enormous detective story, put this together. what it does is it lists all the atoms by atomic number, starting off number one with hydrogen, jump over to the page, helium, then lithium, beryllium, boron, carbon, what comes after carbon, gang?
nitrogen. guess which is heavier, carbon or nitrogen? nitrogen. see, they keep getting heavier than ever, then oxygen, fluorine, neon and so forth. let's talk about those atoms. let's talk about some nomenclature for those atoms. consider hydrogen. hydrogen consists of a central nucleus and it turns out they put that plus sign there, because it's positively charged and around that nucleus, forms a negatively charged particle called an electron. we're gonna be talking more about this when we talk about electricity. this hydrogen has a chemical symbol h. guess why? hydrogen, hydrogen, yeah, okay? and then we have numbers like this. these digits, this digit down here corresponds to the atomic number. that tells you the number of charges that are in the nucleus.
that's one. and this digit corresponds to the atomic mass, over here atomic number and this one here atomic mass. an atomic mass refers to the number of particles in the nucleus. we call these particles nucleons, because sometimes you can have a neutral particle in there called a proton. and when you have that proton, this is still hydrogen, turns out that positive nucleus-- yes, lee? the neutral particle is a neutron. - what did i call it? - a proton. oh, did i call the neutral particle a proton? first time in my whole career... yeah, thanks, lee, thanks, lee. the neutral particles are neutron. guess why they call it neutron, gang? neutral. come on, neutral, guess how much charge it has? none, okay? and it turns out this proton,
which does have a positive charge, pulls on the electron and pulls it together. later on, we get into electricity. we're gonna learn the fundamental rule, and the fundamental rule just says this: unlike charges attract and like charges repel, and do you know how it comes? nobody knows. that's why we say it's fundamental. we'll talk about that when we get to electricity, but we can just think of this electron being attracted to that proton in a way similar, and in a way it's dissimilar too, but in a way similar to the way the earth is attracted to the sun. there's a gravitational attraction. here there's an electrical attraction. anyway, that's the schematic diagram of the hydrogen atom, but this atom's got an extra neutron, so it has a mass of two, atomic mass of two. this is heavy hydrogen. it's a little heavier. you see that? in fact, you can make water h2o where the h is a double weight hydrogen and guess what we call the water? heavy water and you lift it up, you can feel it.
it's heavier, okay? heavier water. this is called an isotope of hydrogen, called deuterium, duet, duo, okay? deuterium. you can also have another isotope of hydrogen which has an extra neutron and these are relatively rare, especially this one, it's called, tritium. trio, three people, trio, tritium, and so this would be isotope tritium of hydrogen, but see the one down there. that tells you that this nucleus has a positive charge of one and is capable of holding one electron in orbit to be stable. okay? now you know what happens if you add another proton? if you add another proton, now these two protons will pull this one tighter, because there's more force, so what it does, pull that into a smaller orbit and furthermore hold an extra electron.
this atom is physically smaller than the hydrogen. this atom with two protons is called... check your neighbor. atomic number two. - helium. - helium. that's helium, gang. now, gang, that's helium. in fact, we have up here, we have 1, 2, 3, 4, so it's helium 4 and what am i going to put for the atomic number? - 2. - 2. - helium, big or small? - small. small, very, very small, you put some helium in a balloon, and you're gonna save the balloon for next week when it's little kathy's birthday, huh? and next week comes and where's your helium balloon? is that on the ceiling anymore? it's on the floor. what happened to the helium? it got through the rubber, why? because it's a big humungous atom? no, because it's tiny. it's tiny, honey, here right through the little open spaces, helium, the smallest atom that there is. i'll tell you another atom that's extremely small too,
a little bit bigger than helium and that's fluorine. ever hear of the element fluorine? you be having fluorine in your toothpaste, gang, and guess what the fluorine does to your teeth? you know what the hardest part of your body is? the hardest? the enamel of your teeth. and guess what's small enough to get right in between the atoms and hold them together, strong, strong, begin with a "f", "l", end with "e", try it. - fluorine. - that's right, fluorine. so you get fluoride toothpaste, yeah? that's what it does. it gets right in there, gets them white and stronger. nice to have fluorine in toothpaste, ain't it, gang? gang, makes your teeth stronger, tiny atoms. if i put another proton in here, now i'll pull those things even tighter and hold an extra electron and that one will be out here. and that atom now is called, guess what? lithium. now, it's lithium.
lithium, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, lithium 5 and 1, 2-- what's the atomic number, gang? - 3. - 3. and you keep going right up the periodic table and then you come way up to what is the heaviest element found in large proportions in nature and that happens to be uranium. and uranium has 92 protons and most uranium has 238 nucleons. if i asked you people hey, uranium, honey, 238 nucleons, how many of those nucleons are protons? and you gotta know. you would say... 92. what if i said how many nucleons in the nucleus? you would say? 238. now here's where you need your calculator. how many of those nucleons are neutrons? and you would say...
of course, you'd have to subtract, okay? you take this number, take away this number, and you guys say about 146, huh? you'd have 146 neutrons in that nucleus. so we have all the atoms, all the atoms which differ from one another principally by the number of protons in the nucleus, because anything that has three protons will hold three electrons, no matter how many extra neutrons you put in. and chemically, there's no difference between one isotope and another. chemically, it has to do with mostly this atom here, how that is compared to this, the configuration. and so if you have 92 naturally occurring atoms, then you have 92 different patterns of levels of electrons. and you have then 92 different atoms with different properties. that's when we have the elements, 92 through uranium. got such thing?
now, atoms: atoms are mostly empty... because this is grossly exaggerated. i've drawn these very, very big compared to what this is. a better thing would be like if i draw the nucleus here, then out across the street the electron would be. the atom is as empty of matter as the solar system is as empty of masses. you know, you got the sun and then you got mercury, venus, mars, keep going out. if you got out in outer space you see the solar system down there and you throw a dart and let's suppose that dart doesn't respond to gravity. and you throw a dart, and you wanna hit either the sun, the earth, venus, mars, pluto... if you wanna hit one, what's your chances, big or small? very small. small, honey, the solar system is mostly emptiness and only occasionally would there be a direct hit even if you took showers and showers of particles which didn't interact gravitationally now.
if they interact gravitationally, they'll come right up and hit you, but no gravity, they go right on by. well guess what, gang? there are neutral particles, thousands and thousands going right through my hand right now, as i talk to you. millions going right through my hand and these neutral particles are from the cosmos, most of them are neutrinos, little teeny, teeny particles with guess how much charge, called neutrino? none, okay? they're smaller than neutrons. and those neutrinos are flooding the universe. and these neutrinos are going right through, guess who? us. you guys, not me, but, no, all of us. these neutrinos are going right through and right out the other side without making a hit. you know why? do you ever get the feeling some days that, you know, i just don't feel like i feel like i'm nothing? i'm nothing. i think i'm just nothing. do you ever get that feeling?
guess what? i got news for you. you are nothing. compared to the something, there's more nothing, because the atoms that make you up are mostly-- talk about being spongy-- and we're all sponges, hon. and most--the little particles make up... take 133 million tons. that's several city blocks. scrunch all those atoms up, 133 million tons, scrunch them up until all these things here cave into one another. you got the size of a pea. so take the size of a pea and spread out a city block, that's how atoms are, most of them. so these things go right through our body without ever making a direct hit. you get, maybe, one direct hit per year on the average, one got me, okay? very, very seldom, okay? you know what? 1987, the supernova-- the supernova in the heavens-- and showered the whole universe with neutrinos. and neutrino flecks were so enormous
that about one out of every 248 people, something like that, got one of those neutrinos, caught one and the rest went just right by through us, right through the other side, never, never making a direct hit. why? because the space between the little particles of the atom are enormous compared to the size of the particular nucleons or electrons. kinda neat, huh? so if there's a great big beam of neutrons coming right by, you just walk right through 'em, and they go right through the other side and they'll register just as much on here whether you're on the beam or not. do neutrons have more effects than neutrinos? it turns out-- i should say, a beam of neutrons, you would have more hits with a neutron than with a neutrino, but not too many more. you could walk through a neutron beam without harm, but i guess the counter reading over here would be a little less for neutrons, but with neutrinos, you get the whole class standing here. hey, let me tell you what it is. it's a piece of lead, if you get a piece of lead, thick enough,
then it will stop half the neutrinos. how thick you suppose is that gonna be about, this thick? this thick? this thick? this thick? as thick as the building? as thick as the world? as thick as like the diameter of the solar system? several light-years thick? and guess what the answer is, gang. six light years. eight solid light years. if you get eight years thick of lead, that's how far the sun will go in eight years, light will go in eight years. get that thickness. now put a beam of neutrinos through, half will come out the other side. so enormously, enormously transparent is even lead to such a thing as neutrinos, let alone us, huh? so mostly empty space, gang. hey, if we're empty space, how about the chairs we're sitting on? begin with e, s. try it. empty space.
how about your foot? your foot's mostly empty space. i remember one time i went to a party, and at this party a guy said this. i didn't know physics, honey. he said, you know what, if you keep kicking a wall, you know, the reason your foot doesn't go through is because the atoms are all... but you ever take a couple of combs and go click, click, click, click, click, click? and this dude said if you keep kicking a wall long enough, pretty soon, your foot's gonna get stuck, because the atoms of the foot will line up with the empty spaces of the wall and the feet can't get back out again. i was really impressed about that. wow, and i kind of thought about that. but then later i happened to think, wait a minute, wait a minute. now, if that's true how about when people are walking along the rocks? and there's never been a recorded case of someone... sunk in the rock. so why is it that we don't sink down through the chairs we're sitting on?
why do you go like this? why don't my hand go right on through? like in the science fiction stories. why? why does it stop? how can i make contact with the table, if this is mostly empty space and the table is mostly empty space? how many say that there is no explanation for that? there is an explanation, gang. you know what it is? oh, nobody be knowing. one be knowing. so you guys didn't have a chance to read the book this weekend. check the neighbor-- see if the neighbor knows. why is it you don't fall through your chair? anyone have any ideas? anyone? trish. do the charges repel each other? yes, electrical charges, right on, wonderful. wonderful. remember, we talked about the atom here,
these electrons repelling other electrons? any electrons on your seat? yes, any electrons on your seat? and when these electrons squished closer and closer, what do they do? begin with "r" end with "l". they repel and this is an electrical repulsion, my friend, between you and the chairs upon which you sit. let's put it this way. let's suppose this table-- pretend this table is a magnet. you guys know about magnets repelling. turn around, they attract, yeah. but you know magnets repel. you've all played with magnets. wow, how come that happened? there's no reason for that. come on, we'll talk about it later, yeah? but pretend that this table is a magnet and pretend that my shoe here is a magnet. and i have a force of repulsion, magnetic repulsion between my shoes and the table. can you picture in your mind's eye me walking across the table and not making contact such that someone could come up and take a piece of paper and slip it right under my shoe? can you imagine that? can you?
how many people say no, i can't imagine such a thing? you have to show me. show your hands. hey, but you know what, let me tell you, it turns out that's what happening anyway, but it's not magnetism. begin with "e". electrical. there's an electrical repulsion between you and the seat you sit on. and when you walk along the floor, there's an electrical repulsion that keeps you from oozing right down into the floor. these charges repel each other. in fact, at the atomic level we talk about touch. i'm touching the table, but get right down into the realm of the atoms, what's going on? where's the touch? there's an electron banging into an electron? it turns out they get closer and they get squashed. the electron, that atom gets squashed up a little bit, and the atom in the hand gets squashed up and there's an enormous repulsion and you look how you, you make that whole thing vibrate. can you guys hear anything? listen.
you know what you're doing? i made those sounds... and the atoms of the air... all the way to here. we'll be talking about sound later, huh? physics, okay. but you make vibrations, you make the atoms vibrate. that's what you're doing. you know the notion of touch is sort of like a lot different than the microscopic levels, at the atomic submicroscopic level, i should say. what do atoms look like? let's suppose you took a microscope, you go to the chemistry depart and say give me an atom. someone gives you an atom, you take some tweezers, you put it under the microscope and you look at it and you get, oh, what's it gonna look like? begin with "n" end with thing. nothing, right? now you take another microscope and put it on the top of that microscope, get 40 microscopes, get on top of a ladder. every microscope--look down, ooh, what do you see? nothing.
then someone says what's the atom look like? and you say, got no looks. atom got no looks. how can atom have no looks? it turn out that atom have no looks because it's smaller than the wavelength of light, that which you look at it with, huh? smaller than the wavelength of light. let me show you what i mean. let's suppose we have a tank, a tank of water here. and all i have here is i have like maybe a rock. there's a rock and a tank and over here i have some sort of detector and over here i take a meter stick and i go flip, flip, flip, flip, flip and i make waves and the waves travel. here's the waves like this. when the waves hit the rocks, can you see the rock disturbs the waves? with this detector, which consists of a little thing there with a ping-pong ball with a little arm that will float up and down, will this detector detect the presence of that rock? will the waves come in differently to this detector if the rock weren't there? yes.
can you kind of picture that in your mind, okay? it turns out that rock would disturb the waves. that's because the rock is bigger than the waves. here's the wavelength. look at the size of the rock. let's take the rock out of there. let's suppose now i have some blades of thin, thin grass sticking up there like this. these are very small compared to the wavelength of the waves. now, you... you generate your waves. what's this gonna get? is this gonna see the grass? somebody see the grass. those waves go right on by the grass. the little shoots of grass are smaller than the wavelengths. this time you're gonna pick it up. in the same way little atoms, of which you're made, are smaller than the wavelengths of light, and so light can't pick up the presence of an atom. light's too coarse. it turns out with a finer, finer wavelength. you can get a wavelength that's very, very fine. very, very fine wave length, you can get an atom. and when i went to school, teacher types told me,
we'll never see a photograph of an atom. look in your book and we got one. you guys see that? what page? whoever finds it first, get an "a." - 180. - 180. lee, you already got your "a". who else said 180? you get an "a" too. troy, at the end of the class, you could just miss all exams. not quite. page 180, gang, and there we have it right there. and that photograph, gang, made some history, because there are the individual atoms, the location of all those atoms very clearly shown. that's taken with an electron microscope. now, there's new kinds of microscopes that are called tunneling microscopes. and these microscopes give you a pattern that looks like this. we have a tunneling microscope right up in the physics department. now what that does, it takes a little needle that scans back forth, back forth, back forth across the surface of metal and where the atoms are sticking up,
makes a sorter path for a little electric current and the little electric current is measured because it goes from the needle to the material itself, and all these little bumps show you the position of an atom. so we're really coming a long way. we can actually see where atoms are now, because of what? the advances in technology. so now we know what atoms kind of look like, not so much what they look like but how they fix one to the other. so the guessing game that biologists used to have to do is greatly enhanced now. now they know. now we can do things with atoms. we can change the structure. we can change molecules. we can affect dna, splice genes, enormous things. lee. if all the parts of us that were made up of the atoms don't have an appearance, how come we have colors and appearances? although one atom doesn't have an appearance, if i keep putting more and more, take one piece of grass, one piece of grass might not show anything here. now i keep putting more and more and more and more altogether,
bunch them together, pretty soon this starts to show. so although one won't show you any appearance many, many will, because then they'll be on the order of the wavelength of light. and when you get larger than the wavelength of light, then light will show their presence. another thing, brownian motion. you've guys will be reading about what robert brown did back in 1830. he's looking in a microscope. and in the microscope, he sees little things jiggling. and at first he thought it was something in there alive, those little particles of soot and these little things are jiggling, jiggling, jiggling, and brown thought that maybe he saw atoms, but they weren't atoms. guess what they were, gang. little specks of dust banged into by, guess what. atoms. it's like this. see this styrofoam cup? you guys can all see this. see this little bb right here, little bb in my hand. i got a whole bunch up in there, see them, i spill them on the table. see those little bbs, you guys can't see those bbs,
'cause you're too far away from them, okay? but can you picture this? can you picture the styrofoam cup on the table and all these bbs, all moving around haphazardly, chaotically and every once in a while the bbs and more bbs hit one side of the cup than the other, what will the cup do? wouldn't the cup start to jiggle? and you guys can see the cup, but you can't see what's making the cup jiggle. you know there's something smaller than you can see is making the cup jiggle. and that's what robert brown saw in his microscope. he saw little particles, big enough to see, jiggle. why jiggling? small enough, there could be more atoms on one side than the other. little bit more neck force on one side of the atom... that thing will jiggle around. so in response to the jiggling atoms, boom, the visible observation: microscopic particles moving, brownian motion. turned out albert einstein explained that and that was one of the first contributions of einstein to prove the existence of atoms. he showed that the motion of those little particles of dust corresponded exactly to the motion of atoms
at various temperatures. i asked you before, atoms big or small and you guys said... very small. small, right? okay, how small? small-small. small-small-small-small-small- small-small. how big is the sun? - big. - how big? very big. big-big-big-big-big-big. okay, let me tell you this, gang. the atom is small-small-small-small, as many times small than us as the sun and average-size stars are bigger than us. so do you want something for your poetry class? guess who stands between the atoms and the stars... in size? - us. - us. that's right, right in between. human beings are as many times bigger than the atom as the stars are many times bigger than us. so it will kind of give you a little bit of feeling. here's another one. i like things like this. apple, any atoms in an apple? i'm sure there's a few, couple of dozen.
come on, honey. this scads, right? about 10 to the 22, huh? many, many atoms in an apple, okay? how many apples would fit in the world? you take the world and made it all hollow and you stuck apples in there, lot of apples or little? about as many apples would fill up the whole world as, as many atoms fill up the apple, so atoms are really... small small-small. some people say, "no such thing as perpetual motion." someone else say, "that's not true." atoms are perpetually moving. they're moving all the time. - who's right? - both. are atoms in perpetual motion? any atoms in this room? - yeah. - [inhales, exhales] yes. i'll be glad there's atoms in this room, right? they make up the air in this room, right? - are these air atoms moving? - yes. you come home from school. you're on one side of the house,
mom's on the other side of the house. she opens up the oven. there's a pie in there. you got that almost right away. - how did you smell the pie? - atom. she opened the oven and what happened? atoms, these things migrating all the time. so atoms are constantly migrating from one place to the other. not only in air, in liquids, to some extent in solids. tiny, tiny extent in solids, but in liquids certainly. to give an example, go home. fill your bathtub high. take an eye dropper and take one drop of red ink, tiny drop. you see the redness in there, yeah? but you see it starts to spread out, right? that spreading out is evidenced that the atoms are doing what? they're moving, right? they're migrating. they go spread out, spread out. wait a little while, go out for a couple of hours, come on back, take an eye dropper, go in that bath, now you can't see the red, can you? it's all diluted, huh? you can't see it. take your eye dropper. see if you can find a place in that bathtub
that you can get a drop of water. bring that to the microscope and look at it and not have some pink in there, ink gonna do it, that's gonna spread out uniformly. you're not gonna get it. that ink will spread out everywhere. in the same way, if you drop that ink in the ocean of the earth, in the earth's ocean, it'd spread out too. when christopher columbus, coming across the atlantic ocean, okay, if he had taken a glass, like a 6-ounce glass that you drink water, yeah? he can reach down into the ocean and pick up that glass and then take that water and ththrow it back in, maybe tag it, maybe tag it, maybe make it all red or something, make it radioactive, somehow you can tell later on. today that glass of water all mixed up, long ago, yeah? go to the ocean, dip up, hold up to the light, it's somewhat like a little pink, because you know what? some of the atoms in christopher columbus's glass are in that glass of water. there are so many atoms.
oh, i'll just throw a little ddt in here. it'll be okay. what do the penguins say about that way, way, way in the bottom of the run? do they get the ddt? they get the ddt, honey. a visible amount of ddt is an enormous number of atoms. so it'll spread out. so you put a little pollution on the air, what happens? takes about six years for that to spread out. i want everyone to do something today. i want you all to do this. take a breath of air. no, you don't have to but go ahead. we take a breath of air, right? did it feel a little musty? do you know what you guys just did? you just breathed in billions and billions of atoms that once were exhaled by leonardo da vinci, thitalian type. take another breath.
that one was einstein. einstein, okay. shakespeare. hey, but do this, that one on shakespeare, go again. now did the same atoms come out that went in? no, what come out are different than the ones that went in. why clorets, right? so every time we take a breath, you're breathing other people, and then when you breathe out, you're breathing out some of those people and you're also breathing the most important person in the whole universe and who's that? yourself. so some of your self is all around the atmosphere. you guys know that? now, let's do a little calculation. how many atoms are in your lungs at any moment with a normal-size breath? it turns out to be about 10 to the 22 atoms. that's one followed by 22 zeros,
10 to the 22 atoms in your lungs at any moment. get this, if you consider how many breathfuls of air are in the whole world, guess what the number turns out to be? 10 to the 22. 10 to the 22, so you know what that means, gang? there are as many breaths of air in the world as there are atoms in your lungs at any moment. how do we know how many breaths of air in the wod? well, what you do is you calculate the area of the world. you guys know what the area of a ball the area of a sphere? anyone happen to know what the area of a ball is or square or any other shape? anyone happen to know what the area of a circle is? take an orange and cut it in half and you make a wet mark, right? that's a circle. what's the area of a circle? pi x r-squared, the area of a circle.
now let me tell you something you'll always remember. if you know the area of a circle pi x r-squared, you'll always remember what the area of a sphere is and the area of sphere is simply this. take an orange, cut it in half, how many times can you take that wet orange and wet the outside of another that's the same size. take a guess. could you wet the other one at least twice? would the area of a ball be twice that? see, take an orange. cut it in half. now that's a circle, right? and that area is pi x r-squared. what's the area, see this part here will wet this part here, right, that part will be wet and you wet it, it turns out you could wet that four times. so that means the area of a sphere equals 4 circles,
4 pi x r-squared. it's one way to look at it. anyway, one can calculate the area of the world because we know what the radius of the world is. we can get the area. we know how deep the atmosphere is. take the area, multiply by the depth of the atmosphere and it's an average depth and you get a number. you get a volume and that volume is 10 to the 22 times as big as the volume in your lungs. that's wild, because you know what that means, gang? i don't know if you guys can put this all together, but everyone do this... i go like this... now that particular breath, that breath, that breath if you exhaled, atoms, right? wait six years, go to the other side of the world, get with your friends and go... guess what you got in that one breath? how many atoms in that breath you just guys let go,
six years in the next one? begin with a "w". one, that's right, one. so you, 10 to 22 of your atoms and they're all gonna spread out out to 10 to 22 liters, really and every liter is gonna have one atom. so anywhere you go you pick up that one. so any one person's one breath, you guys got atoms in that breath right now. now, usually people take more than one breath. leonardo da vinci, honey, old dude, took many, many breaths, and all his breaths you have hundreds of billions of atoms of leonardo da vinci's breath in you or any other person who lived for a long time. so you're made up of the atoms of everyone who has ever breathed before you. how many people in the world today?
about 4.5 billion? that's 4.5 times 10 to the 9. how many people compared to how many atoms in your lungs, which is bigger? you know there's a lot of people. people are 10 to the 9, atoms are 10 to the 22. how many people have been on the planet since the beginning? nobody knows, but arthur c. clarke has made an estimation, and he said it this way. behind every human being stands 30 ghosts, that 1/30 of all human race from way back is walking the earth today. that number's changing quickly. let's say one trillionth, so that means there were 30 more people on the earth
from time zero than there are now. now there's about 4 billion. and there's 30 times that number for the total number of people that ever lived. 3 x 4 is 12, call this 100, that's like 10 to the 11, 10 to the 11 is 100 billion. so 100 billion people in the world. but the number of atoms in your lungs, 10 to the 22, what's that, billion, billion... 10,000 billion, billion atoms in your lungs. many, many, many more atoms in your lungs than people that ever lived, so you can rest assured that inside your lungs or inside your body at any moment are atoms from every human being who ever lived.
you know how the buddhists say things like we are all one. we are all one. what do the physic-ers think about statements like that? the hardcore physic-ers, what do they say? it's true. it's true. little kids know that we're all, if they're taking a science class, learn that we're all made of the same kind of atoms. you know, there's like 92 different kinds, right? no, but wait a minute. go a little further. we're not made of the same kind of atoms. honey, we're made of the exact same atoms over and over again. okay, trh, i see you scratching your forehead there. when you scratch your forehead, a little forehead atom go out, right? lee, you just went okay, you just got a little bit... now that will become part of your ear. so part of your eatoday will be part of trish's forehead yesterday. and, you know, what we're doing, gang? we are literally breathing each other, because every time we breathe in-- sometimes the atom gets stuck, yeah? they get stuck and they become you. so you're really part of everyone else.
hey, someday, someday you get down and out. some day you get down and out. you may have one of those days when you don't feel like you're ever gonna amount to a darn thing? i tell you what you do. on those days you get down and out, grab onto yourself, grab on. say i might feel down, i might have the blues today but this, this that i'm holding onto, this is me, and this that i call me, that's atoms. and these atoms i'm holding on will live inside the bodies of everyone who's ever gonna be on this earth. 'cause that's what happens to you. your fate is to end up everyone else, true, false, or maybe? think about that. catch you later.
welcome to another session of beliefs and believers. we certainly had quite an interesting class last time on buddhism, and i want to take a few more questions, because we're just getting into it. of course, in beliefs and believers, it's almost a little frustrating, because we can never even begin to get the big picture, but remember the key class goal is not in this class to think that we're going to learn everything that there is to know or even a tiny bit of what there is to know about any given religion - it's to give us the skills so if you are interested
in going on further, that you'll be able to pursue it, so that's the key there. before taking a couple more questions, we are actually kind of waving good-bye to our first dimension as we move down the pike. but good-bye's not the same - we want to keep these dimensions together. we're going to - i'm kind of excited - we're going to move into myth in particular, but myth and ritual, and in this class, i want to talk about the relationship of myth, ritual, and include religious experience, so we're going to be doing that also. but before launching into this great leap into the next segment of the course, i just want to take a few more questions on buddhism, or comments or insights that you had. yeah? >> when i think of christianity or judaism, i think of community, families - the thing with hinduism and buddhism are the men seem isolated from the women, and the men are social people; it seems - i want the family
to be brought into it, i guess because of my christian background, i see worship as a family unit. and maybe i'm not far along enough in this - in buddhism or hinduism to see that there is that there is that possibility. >> i see what you're saying. i'm going to let you jump in there, helen, also. >> i would like to follow up on that. >> go ahead. follow-up on that. >> in this book, it describes the ethics of thew world's religions, and in every religion, it says, "what's the role of women?" and in buddhism, according to hunt, craudi and craudi, a woman cannot receive enlightenment or enter nirvana unless she's born again as a man. so of course, any feminist would object to that because we want to be first-class citizens wherever we are. well, my grandson is studying at a vipassana center in massachusetts, and i think vipassana is mindfulness. and he knew his grandmother was a feminist, so he brought me this wonderful book - it's called, buddhism after patriarchy .
and it's by rita gross, and it's a feminist history analysis and reconstruction of buddhism, going back to the original gautama, who did establish a place for women as well as men in his system. >> and you know what you will find - and we've touched on this before; it's the cultural context thing, whatever the limitations are in a culture, they will find their ways into institutionalized religion. and it's a sad case, but as we've seen, you do not have to be a feminist, you simply have to live in this culture to realize that it is very colored by patriarchy, by androcentric thinking, and it goes through all the religions. and your comment about the family, i'm glad you brought that up, because if you go to the hindu temple say down the road in lemont, you'll see the whole family in there worshiping. just by the luck of the draw, we had nancy mccagney there, but we had a couple of spokespersons
who happen to be men, and certainly later on, we'll have women in there, but we need to overcome that. and rita gross, i don't know her well, but i do know her and she does wonderful work in terms of helping us overcome some of these attitudes. good point. yeah? >> it bothers me a little bit about buddhism that everyone - most of them - speak of not being able to attain what they want to attain without pain and suffering. and yet we saw nancy mcgagney in this wilderness , and it didn't look to me as though she had gone through pain and suffering; she was just attaining this inspiration by being out in the wilderness, and that pleases me much more. >> well, i find that in nancy and i find that in a great many followers. some people are just given that the spiritual path has to be pain and suffering and aesthetics and fasting and whatever, and others come to it as a sense of a joyful journey, and you find that.
sure. >> the buddhist monks that i've associated or known, they're full of joy and happiness, and i've never gotten out of any of their literature or their - talking with them that they feel that the path has to be painful, but that life inherently has suffering in it. and that's a big difference. we cannot escape sickness, death, injustice - i mean, it's all around us. and if we become too clingy, that's where the pain comes from. >> exactly. let me go to you, janet. go ahead. >> oh, i thought you said janet. it's an observation there, but i can see, for a person in india, where they sleep and die on the streets, they drink the water from the sacred river which is floating with filth, and the other oriental cultures
where they're teeming people, that pain and suffering is a part of their culture every day - therefore, the religion satisfies them by saying that sometime in the future, if they will tolerate it here, they can earn something more. that is also, i think, a reason why they don't try to be more than whatever group they were born to, because they know if they can - this is what they have to go through and understand, and then they'll get ahead. so that for them, their whole way of life responds to those particular two religions - hinduism and buddhism. >> well, now, i think that we see suffering certainly in that culture - i mean, it's culture-based. but i think the suffering - the way i envision it - you're quite right about the cultural observation. the way i envision it is more of a suffering that is at a much deeper level and could be any kind of attitude or any kind of culture could find it. janet, let me take your question and then we'll get you, and then i guess we better get to - on the myth, but go ahead.
>> i remember the buddhist teacher saying the idea is "joyful participation in the sorrows of the world." anywhere you are, in any culture there are sorrows. you can think of any - i mean, the example you gave with the car, you get a new car and it's a little dent in it, and it's not a great suffering, not like people dying in the street, but for you, it might be really important at that moment. so it's an attitude. >> it's an attitude thing and it brings - if you take the suffering from the point of view of, "why me?" then your pain is exacerbated. >> because you're personalizing it, the ego gets in front. >> that's what i wanted to say, the suffering that we're talking about, i think much of it is self-created suffering. we just have not learned to look beyond, we create so much - even some of our physical illnesses, by what we do, we reap the illnesses of it all in how we eat and live, and we need to rethink and look
at this new light of life. >> and we are learning so much about that in medicine and what have you that our mind set can - definitely touches our health. well, let me not put buddhism to sleep - let's keep these insights going, let's bring them in, because when we look at myth, of course, it's going to be an amazing world, and we'll be able to draw on both hinduism and buddhism, and many new world religions we haven't touched on yet, as we go in. but i want to take us into myth and ritual and we'll come to some formal graphics. but as i mentioned a couple of times, it's very exciting for me to be able to redo the beliefs and believers teleclass, because there have been certain insights i've gotten that my students have helped me gain over the years from teaching it so many years since we did the first one, and what we're about to approach here with the opening look at the relationship between myth,
ritual, and experience is one of those insights that was very rewarding for me, and i want to set it up that way. in our older version, we simply looked at myth and we looked at ritual, and we didn't really tie them together. so that's one of the main purposes in this class is i want to reveal the new knowledge of the interconnection between the experiential, mythic, and ritual dimension, and then we'll look more carefully at myth. but to get us rolling on myth, i'd have to say, of all the dimensions, if i'm allowed to have a favorite flavor, so to speak, i just, i love myth. myth, as we'll see right off the bat in religious studies, is somewhat confusing. we don't use the term as false stories or fables or untrue tales, the way everybody else in the world uses it - we use it as profoundly true stories; maybe not provable scientifically, maybe not common sense oriented,
but for the various functions that we'll look at today, they are profoundly true, if for no other reason then they guide human behavior, which is one of the keys to the classes here. but before doing that, i though we'd start out with a myth, and let me give you some background on this. we jumped from hinduism to buddhism, and now we're going to jump back to hinduism. in the first beliefs and believers teleclass, we had a professor here at governor state, dr. dave- i believe he teaches in psychology; maybe some of you know him - and he came down to our class, and we asked him - he's a great intellect, he's a teacher here, a writer; but he had learned the myths of his culture exactly where you should learn them, on the knee of his parents - and we asked him, "could you tell us some myths?" and what he did he came into class and told us what we will come to term a "creation myth" - he told us about, from the hindu perspective - how the mother of all rivers, the great, glorious ganges,
the ganga river was created, and how, to him, it's the most meaningful thing in the world. now, a key in here, if you'll listen for it, is i want to talk about in this relationship between experience, myth, and ritual, that experience starts the need - the boundary questions start the need for the great stories. the great stories, in turn, answer those questions about meaning and purpose and place and what have you. then, in turn, they bring out in believers the need to replicate certain kinds of ritual activities present in the mythic drama, which in turn will bring us back up to, "well, why do that?" because they bring us back into the original experience, and we see that over and over again. but let me - without muddying the water too much - let's go to dr. dave, and simply listen to a gentleman speak of a great myth that
has so much meaning for him. listen to boundary questions, listen how they define who he is, who his people are, meaning, purpose, creation, all these things. so dr. daveh. >> the first myth is the myth of the ganges. the word for the ganges - the sanskrit word for the ganges is ganga . the british people came to india, they didn't - couldn't pronounce ganga well, so they call it the ganges, but the word is ganga. ganga is our spiritual mother - it's the mother of the country. my sister came here several years ago to spend a few years with us from india, and once she opened up a couple of things that she had brought from a little bag - she had suitcase - children that young, they are all looking at it - and there was a little container she had. in that container, she had brought the water
from the ganges. and our children asked her, "why did you bring this water?" because they were not exposed to this part of our culture. and she said, "i don't know when am i going to go. i have brought this," because the custom is when somebody dies, you put the ganges water in the mouth - you are in the the hands of the eternal mother, from which you came - we came from our mother, and we return to our mother. so there is always a deep-seated desire and wish and dream of everything we do is to at least visit the ganges - the ganga, and march into it. i couldn't do that for several years because i was too poor to go to ganga. i was born in a very poor family. but i had a deep dream. after i came here, i became a little rich, so i could afford to go to ganga and i went with a couple of my american students - we all went there -
and we were just longing - my heart was filled with joy i couldn't describe. it's like meeting the mother, whom you have known in your heart, but you haven't seen her - that kind of deep feeling. what i'm talking about, i'm still feeling those emotional vibrations in me - it's in the deep part of my psyche. so we went there and we marched into the ganges - in the ganga - and i felt deeply fulfilled. my mother was not alive at that time, but i felt the presence of my mother in my heart. that's the ganges. the myth about the ganges is very ancient - i'll briefly describe it. there was a king by the name sagar-s-a-g-a-r. he had two wives, and he didn't have any children. so he prayed, and a rishi - a sage -
gave a blessing, saying, "both of your wives will have children. but they have choose. one wife, whoever makes the choice, will have one son or 60,000 sons" - we are talking about thousands here. so the first wife said, "i would like to have only one son." the other wife said, "i would like to have 60,000 sons." so both the wives had 60,000 plus one children. the king wanted to establish his supremacy, and at the same time, he wanted to go to heaven. in order to go to heaven, he would perform a spiritual sacrifice, which is called yagna . so he performed a spiritual sacrifice, and one of the customs at that time, that you have a host, and you take the host, and the host follows in the whole country, and whoever catches the host has to fight with the king. so all these 60,000 sons plus one,
they all took the host and carried it all over the country, and a chief came invisibly - this is a part of the myth - sent by god, and that chief stole the host away. and all these children were looking - there were no more children; they were warriors - they were looking for the host; they couldn't find the host. so they got all disappointed. they go back to the king, and the father said, "you have to find the host. how could i be a supreme king and how could i go to heaven if you couldn't find the host?" so they are looking and looking, and they couldn't. eventually, the king ordered, "do whatever needs to be done, but find the host." so the 60,000 sons went to look for the host. they are in a forest, a spiritual place, kapila muni- muni means "one who is quiet; the name was kapila. he was meditating, and there, his sons came and they saw the host, thus enjoying
the quiet atmosphere. so these people thought - the sons, or the warriors thought that this muni had stolen the host. so they got very angry and started to tease and harass and torment the muni, kapila muni. so the sage who was meditating and was disturbed by these behaviors, and so there was a flash of fire that came from his eyes, which burned all the 60,000 sons, warriors - they all turned into a heap of ashes. the king was sorry - he didn't know what to do. so he wanted all these sons to be taken care of because they were all turned into ashes and they need to be purified. so they were looking for a way, and his son tried - he couldn't succeed. another son tried and lived for 30,000 years - he couldn't succeed. and another son - the fourth ruler,
who name was bhagirath; one of the names of the grand river ganga is bhagirathi - one who is brought from the heaven to the earth by the king bhagiratha; that's why she's called bhagirathi. and this bhagirath, he went to meditation and austerity for 1,000 years, and in the meditative state, there was a message he got, that the only way all the 60,000 sons could be really sent to heaven, if the ganges from the heavens ascend and come down - that's the only way, if the water of the ganges touches these sons who had committed such a big, hideous sin, then they could be salvaged. so bhagirath said, "i will do it." and he looked for help how to get the ganges from the heaven. so there is
one of the statues there, and just to set you up shiva, you can look at it, it's a very heavy statue. but can you focus there. >> i'll hold it up. >> okay. hold it, please. it's very heavy, an antique. now that statue is the statue of shiva, or shankara, or mahadev - these are the different words. we have three principles - the principle of creation is brahma; the second principle is vishnu, which is sustenance or maintenance; and the third principle is the principle of dissolution, which is shiva principle, and from dissolution, the cycle of creation continues. so we have a cyclic concept of beginning, sustenance, and another beginning, which is called sansara - a cycle of phenomenological worry; it keeps on moving and moving and moving, so we have thousands of lives to go through. so shiva was the only god who could really accept,
who could really bare the powerful weight of the ganges coming from the heaven. think about the gravity and think about the power that the ganges would have. so he worshipped shiva and shiva said, "okay." now shiva resides in the himalayas mountains, in the mountains which are very high. so he goes and prays to shiva. shiva said, "okay," because the meaning of shiva is one who brings blessings or good to others." so he said, "okay. if that helps you, i will do that. i will follow it, the weight of the ganges coming from the heavens." so he is standing on the himalayas, and the ganges comes down, and the ganges is very proud. then bhagirath says, "i want to show shiva how could i really bare my weight. he's going to be crushed by me; he's going to be swept away by me." and shiva, who had third eye - there is also a concept of the third eye - he can see things very clearly,
can see mental vision. so he knows what is going on in the mind of ganga. so he's there and ganga comes down forcefully, and he locks the ganges in his hair, and his hair keeps on spreading on the himalayas. and the ganges gets lost - she has a hard time to find her way, and for one year, she is entangled in the hair of shiva. eventually, she prays and says, "i accept my egotism. please forgive me. let me go." and so shiva lets her go, and three strings going the east, three strings going the west, and one string follows the king bhagiratha. so she follows bhagiratha, and bhagiratha takes her where all the 60,000 sons and warriors were burned to ashes. she goes there, she purifies them, and then she merges into
the ocean. this is called ganga alakananda - the descending of the ganges. this is a very ancient story, and we all have very deep feelings about the ganges, so everyone wants to be merged into water of the ganges, or before i die, i would like to have also kept that water. so i told my children, that when i die, i want to die very peacefully, in the hands of my mother, who is the mother of everybody - eternal mother, the ganges. this is one myth that has meant a lot to me. >> now folks, for the midterm exam, i want an exact repeat of that myth. pretty far out, isn't it? i mean, 60,000 here and rivers flowing and all of this. and that's part of the flavor in hinduism and later in buddhism also, these extraordinary - once you've gotten rid of one life through reincarnation
and karma, why, you're just expanding all over the place. and that's part of the beauty of it. very symbolic, and we'll talk about that. the question of, "oh, i can't believe that; that couldn't possibly be true", maybe we want to come back to that in this class also. but a couple of key things were brought up in there and he mentioned it and he had a little vial of the ganges river and he talked about his mother having to drop in it and he wants to drop into it, and he said something that's so important for our entrance into myth and ritual, which is that all hindus, because of that myth, they want to go bathe in the ganges. and we missed the plane to go to india, so we didn't quite make it, but many of you have probably seen the pictures of the ritual bathing at certain festivals, you have millions and millions of people in the water, bathing, washing their clothes, the chanting going 24 hours a day, as he said. and here's a man, if we want to look at it from the scientific point of view -
the microbes in the ganges river would destroy anything, but others say that no germ can live in it. and someone - a man of intellect, a man of science, like dr. dave, the power of the myths guides him and he went there, and you could see him in class when he spoke of this. that he really did feel tears of joy at that experience that that myth gave him, that he was ritually able to come back to that. and let me get into the graphics and we'll move through this and then have a chance to come back and talk more when we look at that. that's the key element i want to bring out in terms of relationship between experience, myth, and ritual. first, when we're talking about myth and ritual, we have to realize that these are symbolic ways of communicating. that's why with dr. dave, we allow that breadth of poetic creativity -
we will allow that kind of mythic drama. so there's symbolic modes of communication, so we have to take that into account. now, moving on through the graphics as we move up to the next one, this is the insight that i've come to that we did not have in the previous class, but i want to share and get your feedback on what i call the dimensional triangle. we've gone through experiential dimension, we've seen - thinking back to dr. dave's discussion of myth - did you hear all those answers to boundary questions rising up in the myth of drama - where we came from; questions of good and evil; questions of power; questions of how creation came to be; questions of where we go when we die? and all through that river literally runs a very key hindu element we saw in the experiential dimension when we're looking at hinduism, which is oneness -
the ganges comes from the gods, down to the river, the river goes out to the ocean, and you get this very cyclical thing - brahman, vishnu, shiva - that you feel in there. but what we saw and heard is in the experiential dimension, that the boundary questions are raised up. myths - and i want us to test this out as we move through the semester, and more importantly, in your own religious background or lack of religious background, or even in society itself - religious experience raises up questions about meaning, purpose, who we are, identity, relationship - we try to ke the case of we all go through those, if nothing else, of rites of passage - myths, in the great world traditions, usually spawned by some kind of religious leader, charismatic religious leader, myths are the stories about the original happenings. then comes ritual, which as a religion develops, it's the desire on the part
of the believers to replicate that original experience, and that, ideally, as dr. dave said, when he entered into the ganges river, or had a vial of it that he can hold, that brings him to the kind of peace that maybe janet was talking about with chanting. so that's the triangle we want to see. we're asking the question, "why?" all the time in this class - "why do people do it?" and also "how?" in religion, and that's one of the key things. christian context - our example, once we move through the graphics, is a classic. think of easter week, think of holy week - what happens in holy week? in the effort to be whole - be wholly - people draw on the mythic drama, right there in the sacred text - it does not always have to be sacred text; we have native americans in this class that come from oral tradition - but they draw on the events in the last week of jesus's life, ritually throughout that week, they replicate them in ritual,
which ideally brings them back into an experience of wholeness, an experience of where those boundary questions are answered. and that's the kind of thing i want to look at is when you move through this. let's keep going on the graphics and then we'll be able to do some questions on this; we'll get some of your good insights. you see, that's the idea - hopefully not too simplistic. but on the next graphic, we're still staying with the same idea of religious experience, myth, and ritual. what i want to do here is just kind of talk it through in terms of the language and see what's going on, and i think we can see here on the graphic, boundary questions are raised up, the great stories and myths are designed to answer them, and then as we move through that, the rituals come into place and they guide human religious experience. that's really the triangle element that we're going to look at here. just a couple of comments you might have,
since we're - go ahead, jamie. >> what bothers me is, in my experience, we all learn religions that we're accustomed to - they don't teach myths as myths; they teach them as facts. this is where i have problems. and i have asked this question - one bishop, in a certain denomination, i was in my twenties, and i asked him why is it that you teach myths as facts? and he hesitated so long, i thought i had offended him, and he finally said, "it's expected to be taught that way." and i can't buy that. if you teach a myth as a myth, fine, i have no problem with that. but to teach myths as fact, then i have a problem. >> jamie, you have - as always happens in this class, it seems - you've read my mind about where we're going, because i have a whole set of graphics after our first roll-in, where i want to talk about myth and history and why that is. and i'm with you there - i'm absolutely with you. i think a lot of religious leaders who are backing
some extraordinary stories, if they could just get off the high horse and say, "it's myth, but myth is real." that's all they've got to say, "it's myth, but myth is real." and we're going to go through several functions of myth here shortly, and i'll try to make that case. and to me, it would alleviate - i mean, certain religions come to mind. i mean, come on folks, i mean, about 88 percent of the people who are religious in this nation are some form of christian. think of the myth statements within christianity of the extraordinary events. of those 88 percent, there's probably 1,000 different denominations of christianity in a free country that, for the most part, disagree over the interpretation of the level of factuality, historical, factual event versus symbolic, mythical ritual drama. and we could just like take it easy on each other if we could just separate those. so you've brought up an excellent point, it's one of the key points - a beliefs and believers point -
that we want to bring up is, well, let's sort that out; let's sort out some of the differences between history and myth and where they in fact interact. so good question. sure. >> i would answer that i think that people, in many ways, are like children, and they need some example, because if you gave them the basic principle, they'd say, "too deep." so if you give them something that they can picture, or fit in with their own life as being something reasonable, it doesn't matter to them if it's fact or not - you've given them a reason to believe what the person who is giving them the story wants them to believe. >> you're so right. i mean, think about the star wars trilogy, for instance, and what that taught people about. it's a mythic drama about good and evil, and about how people could begin to relate to something like that. and why is it so popular? things are popular because they touch mythic cords. go ahead, chris. >> why do all great
learned people or great religious teachers speak in myths and in parables? i've noticed like - maybe i'm totally wrong here - but jesus spoke in parables, buddha spoke in parables, confucius spoke in parables, socrates spoke in parables. i think the only - the truths that we seek to grasp cannot be grasped in such a simple thing as just saying it from me to you. i think what we have to - what they understood is that most people aren't going to understand this unless we bring everyday things, everyday symbols into it, and bring some normalacy to it, so people can understand it, like we talked about in the second class, with bringing life symbols like the fish and crosses and stuff. >> exactly.
that's exactly the point we want to look at when we're looking at myth is that's what's going on here. religious experience is extraordinary. we talked about language in here and how difficult it is to express it, and so myth symbols - and we'll go into more formal notes later on symbols - but symbols are elements that you're familiar with but they may point to something totally different - and that's what's going on in the drama. and because myths are so fantastic or extraordinary, they need to be ritually reworked and relived - i mean, so that's how you get back to the experience. again, that's why we started with experiential dimension, because unless you are in that experience, the myths are dead - they're just stories that aren't true; the rituals are boring. how many people bust on their religion because of those two things, that i don't believe that and the rituals don't mean anything - that's why it's so important that they come back to the experience. go ahead, janet, and then we'll get you, juan. >> if you think back in the history of human beings, stories telling
is the natural way that information would be passed from one generation to the next, it's a survival mechanism. you want that old person there to remember what happened last year when you were stuck in this conundrum, so that they can tell the story and that you can - your group can survive. so it's actually a built-in survival mechanism of behavior storytelling. >> because it's identity and relationship, and we want to get to graphics. but let me do that here. juan, i said i'd get to you, but we want to move on through the graphics and i'll come right back to you. let's move through the - i think we've made the main point here, but if we could move to the next graphic, what we have on them is just simply in words going through what i've already stated, which is that we have this dimensional triangle, we can see it here in the graphic - that is the dynamic that i want us to look for. i'm always learning in this field, and i really got very excited when i saw how this was linked together,
because it gave me a window to understand how so many different world views work. i had the same problem, that jamie raised, other people raised- what's this deal with myth? why can't you just - and chris said it, too - why can't we just say something factual that happened? why does it have to be so fantastic? and you realize, as you begin to move through these, that this dimensional triangle, that the religious experience, as we have here, is something that we've seen in all human beings because they seek these answers to boundary questions, and again, meaning and purpose and these sorts of things, and so where are they going to look to those answers? well, in religions, we move to the next step, in terms of the relationship, and we see that the myths step in, in the cultural context - back to our discussion of cultural context. we see that the myths are colored, shaped - the prism element - the myths come in,
and we'll speak about this term paradigmatic narratives - but myths - i like that term, paradigm means model - well, paradigm - or i like paradigm - laden narratives because it's as though myths literally drip like a ripe piece of fruit, they drip with models for behavior and action and activity - great heroes, like we heard in dr. dave's piece, so myths do those. and inside that, what they do then is they guide the rituals. now, in guiding the rituals, what actually happens - and this is ideally - what actually happens is that the believer will come back into holiness, wholeness, completeness, a sense of peace, a sense of fulfillment - that seems to have been the spark of the original religious experience - at a festival, the buddhist meditates as the buddha did. we will look at baptism
here shortly. let me take us through here and look at some of these functions. this is where we hit on jamie's key point here - the relationship between myth and history. he used the term fact , but i use history, but i think you get the basic point here, that the quest for the historical jesus versus the quest for the jesus of faith. now, those are two very different things, and why can't people just recognize that they're two different things? well, it's difficult. but let's look first at myth an see what we're talking about here. just as i said, paradigm - laden narratives - that there's models for good and evil - primordial heroes, great leaders, evil forces. i mean, just think of the book of revelation that's getting a lot of play lately because we're "getting near the end of the world." what will we do in the end time? and next, that's - we'll look at different types. but we've got to know, "how did we get here? where do we go? where are we going to go
when we die? who's right? who's wrong? what's good? what's evil?" and these, as chris said, are very hard to just come out and say, so all these magical stories rise up. janet made a key point - storytelling is the key to human existence. we love stories. listen to, what makes a hit, a music hit? you've got good narrative - you've got to get a good story and you've got to get a good melody, and that makes a hit. look at all our sitcoms, look at our fascination with stories. what are stories doing? back to class one - identity and relationship - and that's where myth plugs in. but look at some of these key functions of myth, and then we'll go back to jamie's question and say, are myths phony? are myths false? should we disregard them? well, number one, they answer profound life questions, and indeed they do, as we heard with dr. dave. and answering profound life questions, second key point, as we go through here - they guide individual and collective behavior,
and from the point of view of beliefs and believers, this may be the most important thing they do. i do not - well, of course i care - but it doesn't matter if - i think i used this example in another class - but if you're a government agent and you're crossing that plain in texas and inside is the branch davidians, and they are living in an armageddon, apocalyptic, mythic drama, based straight out of the book of revelation , and they know the u.s. government is the antichrist, and the government agents are representatives, they're dominions of satan, and they're coming across that field - all hell broke loose. and the government agent and his family - very tragic. but can they go back and say those were wackos - everything they believed was wrong? it was not wrong - it guided their behavior, and then all violence came to be. i mean, the killing,
ethically, you can take issue with that. but what you see there in that kind of activity is that the myths guide individual and collective behavior, and there's great reality and great power in that. the issue - well, let's go through these, and i'll go back and put my you-know-what on the line and bring up the particular religion that i think's interesting there. but another very important point is it engenders - brings out self-esteem and empowerment. and i've got to jump in right on this one. we'll come back to the nation of islam, elijah mohammed, louis farrakhan, and if you look at the original teachings of elijah mohammed, it's a fascinating turntable mythic story in which whites are a devil race created by an evil force who have been made to oppress black folk; but when the justice is done, that evil race will be wiped out. now, elijah backed off that in his later years,
but what he had to do was raise up the self-esteem of african americans - empower them - and he used a mythic force. true or false? open question. but it had the key point here. another key thing they do is they order existence - they tell us who we are, where we're going, what we're doing, what's important, what isn't important. and we're going to come back to civil religion in this class, but all you have to do is walk through the paper plate and napkin section of k-mart and watch the colors change, from your little reds and whites on valentine's day to your st. patty's day, to memorial day, fourth of july, and what you're seeing is a liturgical, mythic cycle happening inin the secular leve- it provides meaning, it guides behavior, which is the credit card - i mean, the card companies are making all the money, but that's the kind of idea - it orders us.
and another very important part it does, which also lends itself to a political idea, is it does give reverence for the past and hope for the future. my fifth grade social studies book about america was not history - it was myth. it was george chopping down the cherry tree and not lying, and abraham lincoln walking 60 miles for a penny. hey, you ever been down to springfield in our great state of illinois? lincoln worship! we were talking about that big drama. helen, let me get to you here. >> could we get back to waco, texas, just for a minute? >> sure. >> it seems to me that the government men also had a myth, and so what happened that was so tragic was the collision of two myths - the branch davidians' myth and the feds' myth. the feds' myth was that satan was on the other side, these were devils - there was some, even, creation of a false story that they were abusing children in order to justify the myth
that permitted the government men to attack. >> very well said - there was symbolic manipulation going on there on both sides, in order to justify behavior. the united states is a very mythically vital country, and you can raise up certain issues that tear things down. probably one of the problems by the time this gets out, it'll probably be past - president clinton has is that for all the good he's done, he's violated certain mores that are part of the mythic drama that we're in here. so just the last graphic, and then i want to go to the one roll-in, and we'll have a little time to come back here. the last graphic kind of summarizes what we're looking at here that jamie brought up, which is history is about factual description of past peoples, places, and events. and my big question is: is history ever free from
its mythic element? whatever is in the culture, is history ever completely detached from myth? it's always in there. anytime revisionists come back - helen brought up the women, the book with a woman relooking at buddhism - a woman goes back and looks at history with eyes of a woman and sees great leaders in there and it changes. african americans go back and look at american history, and all of a sudden, there's a different tone, a different flavor to the textbooks, because they see that indeed, these people participated as much as anyone else. so whosever reading and interpreting is doing the job there. now let me go to the roll-in, because this is just an example, if you're hanging out there in doubter's land about my triangle, i wanted to bring home something to you that fills out the triangle, and it's baptism. we happened to just arrive at the river jordan - not really headed there for any reason - we got to the river jordan, where, of course, jesus is baptized,
and we see all these people there being baptized, and we say, "why are you doing it?" and it's because the myths, the story in the new testament speaks of baptism, jesus was baptized, they want to be baptized in the same spot. then we jump all the way half a world away to roy, washington, and speak to a fundamentalist baptist preacher who says exactly why he does it. and hopefully, this will show our triangle at work. so let's go to our roll-in on baptism and look for that dimensional triangle. ♪ god is so good, ♪ god is so good, ♪ he's so good to me ♪ god is so good,
♪ god is so good, >> personally, for me, we were talking earlier about how we were going to chicken out because it was so cold. but i'm really glad we did, that it not only reaffirms how i really believe, but the bible tells you to be baptized, and just to - like my father said - to do it here in jordan river is something really special. ♪ god is so good, ♪ god is so good, >> baptism pictures the gospel of the lord jes christ the gospel is, christ died for my sins, and was buried, and rose again. now, baptism by immersion has always been the biblical way. even those who sprinkle
that the ancient, primitive way of baptizing was always by immersion, which is what the word literally means - it means immersed, to immerse. and so if you've truly accepted christ in your heart, we believe that you will follow through with obeying him in being baptized, to show forth to whoever is there, as a witness and a testimony that you have accepted christ, you believe he died for you, he was buried for you, and that he rose again, and you are identifying publicly with christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. this also associates you with god's people - his church - and you're saying, "i'm one of these folks." that's what baptism is about. >> i baptise you my sister in the name of the father, and the son and the holy ghost.
>> see, all the elements are in there - huge passage of time, almost 2,000 years, the original leader of christianity is being baptized, maybe in that same spot. there we are the river jordan, and we didn't even have to slip that woman five bucks, she said, "i did it because the bible told me to do it," and what she's saying is that the mythic drama asked for that. then we jump, centuries and centuries, a millennia away, half a world away to a little town called roy, washington, and we happened to cross this calvary baptist independent fundamentalist church and we'll come back to our good friend pastor stowe here later in the course, but what we find is that there - we're sitting in the church, and we said, "there's going to be a baptism; where's the baptismal font?" then up on the big wall, whoosh, open up and in she goes and out she goes. so a millennia later, that's the triangle, to get back into that
experience of - to sort of validate, to validate the initial experience of your born again experience of acceptance into christ, you go back to an ancient ritual, but do it in the very, very current time, which ideally brings you back into it. what's very interesting about the woman - we didn't get a chance to talk to her - but the woman in the church, it was a rebaptism. she'd had a very bad time, a divorce, some kind of bad personal experience, and she felt she was losing her christianity, losing her experience. so what do you do if you lose your experience? you rebaptize - you go back through the ritual again, reaffirm that original experience in the myth, so you're back into it. let me go to one more roll-in, and then we'll have - i keep promising a little time to talk, but well get to it here. it's a really, another neat piece i want to share with you in this class because it fits so well. it's in a graveyard,
overlooking the holy city in jerusalem, on a beautiful day, and what we find there is particularly wealthy jews in jerusalem will have themselves buried so that they can be right there near the holy city. so we'll see in the roll-in from the graveyard this beautiful setting - even though it's a graveyard, it's a beautiful day - but behind it is al-aqsa mosque, the muslim mosque and the dome of the rock, the holy sepulcar in christianity, and of course, the western wall of the temple - so three great traditions rise up, as we'll say here in the videotape, out of a single boundary question - "what do we do in mortality?" so let's jump from - where have we been? we've been to roy, washington, we've been to the jordan river, and now to the holy city. >> the poppy is traditionally a symbol of remembrance, and it's really quite appropriate we'd find them in a graveyard.
but what a graveyard. this is a holy site, and the people who are buried here are actually jews who have paid money in order to have themselves dug up and put in this special site, because it's one of the most holy sites in the world. behind me, we see the holy city - home to the sacred, sacred sites for jews, for christians, for muslims - and it tells us a lot about the importance of coming to grips with your own mortality. we've mentioned in the class that death is one of the great stimulators of religious feelings - if we're all immortal, how then can we make sense of our life? if everything we do comes to naught, well, then, why even go on with life? and of course, religion steps in and tries to make sense of that. now, in the holy city, it's an amazing story, almost a collision of myths - jew, muslim, and christian - coming from the same faith, looking to abraham, worshiping the same god,
but extraordinary differences in how they go about it, and yet all look to the same holy site. muslims at al-aqsa mosque and the dome of the rock will be washing their hands and feet, prostrating themselves towards mecca, worshiping allah. jews in sacred shawls will be kissing the western wall, the last remnant of the great temple, praying devoutly. and christians may well ritually follow in the path of their savior, via del a rosa to calvary, and then the holy sepulcar. very powerful situations here, but it all comes back to our look at what do we do about our mortality. so as the poppy is a symbol of remembrance, in many ways, it also is a symbol of resurrection, of rebirth. and the religious traditions we'll see here in israel, in jerusalem, will help us in finding out exactly why it is that humans take this religious impulse and turn it into these extraordinary religious expressions.
>> and that's what we saw over and over again in the holy city is the - in the muslims, in the jews, in the christians - pilgrims going to the ancient places to if not do what the great leader did, to be in the spot. the al-aqsa mosque and the dome of the rock are extraordinary places where mohammed did amazing things - ascended to heaven, came down, talked with the great leaders of all times - and people come there and they pray, right next to the western wall where the jews ritually pray, pray as the ancestors did, pray as they were taught to do. all that history is in there, and of course, the whole - we'll come back to a roll-in later on this - but you go to the church of the holy sepulcar, where the christian pilgrim can literally go through the stages of jesus's last time.
and until you go in there - i think i asked if anyone had been there before - but until you're in there, it's a rather short space where you move from jesus's - from being stripped, to being nailed to the cross, to being on the cross, to being taken down to wash, to into the tomb, to where it all raises up, and christian pilgrims wander in there in great serenity - doing what? seeking to renew that religious experience that originally inspired their great leader, was passed on down through tradition - the myth mostly concretized in sacred text; not always - but then you capture it by redoing it in rituals. i mean, you think about what goes on in various religious organizations, it seems to me to hold up pretty well. but that's why people do the things they do, and it's also how they do them. in a free society, they do them in a lot of different ways; other times, people, have gone through the stake or been hung
or killed for doing the ritual the wrong way. but in our society, you see how much that's going on. any comments or questions you might have on that or anything? before i put myself in that line with that one. sure. >> well, i don't know if this could be called religious, but we do that same feeling when we go walk the trails of lewis & clark. why are we doing that? because we want to feel those same footsteps, you maybe feel a relationship with what they did. it could be any of those times when you go on a vacation, to be right where lincoln had been and so-and-so. >> you're so right. >> ...just religion of jesus christ or such. >> that's the feeling you get, and we'll talk about this in terms of civil religion - kind of a controversial term - but that's exactly why we want to go back to those original spots, go back to colonial times, because you're reliving the mythic drama. did you notice, oh, last year
or something like that, the mormons got together, dressed in their old - the 19th century clothing, and they got the oxen and everything, and they did redid the mormon trail out to utah. they want to relive it - it renews the experience. yes. >> it seems to me, from everything we've discussed, that the danger in most religions, in my perspective, seems to come when the learning of the myths is taken in without understanding the symbolism there, and without historical perspective. >> yes. absolutely. this is a point that i want to extend on when we get to doctrine, but i teach the bible sequence down at western illinois university, and naturally, i have the classic evangelical born again christian in there, and a good many of them really know the bible, but many of them do not know the cultural context, and you need to have - you need to understand the symbolism. when we look at a book like revelation ,
that is causing so much turmoil, and may well have been behind political acts of destruction in this country, in which the symbolism - i'm not just making this up, folks - the symbolism that drove a timothy mcveigh to such extreme is drawn from the book of revelation , filtered through soldier of fortune and christian identity movements and all these sorts of things, in which the symbols that were being used 1,900 years ago are skewed in such a way to present u.s. and u.s. government as some kind of demonic force. so you're so right there, and it's one of the things we're going to have to pay attention to. and you know, as we're running down to the last few seconds, unfortunately, in this class, keep that in mind, because i want to come back, and we will come back to some fairly controversial religions as we move through the semester, and we want to always keep in mind what's the mythic symbolism? where do we draw that line between myth and history, and how are these people using these symbols? so we'll see you next time,